#firstimpressions

Bono-giorno! Ciao amici e la famiglia!

After 4 days immersed in this new, Tuscan culture, my expectations are exceeded (minus the unusual cold, windy weather – it’s been snowing the past 2 days; these Florentines don’t know what to do with themselves).

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Florence is exactly what I imagined, but better – the small, crowded city makes me feel small and insignificant, but in an indescribable, wonderful way.  There are snowcapped mountains in the distance; beautiful, old buildings in shades of yellow, orange, red, green and tan; crooked cobblestone streets weaving through tight, winding alleys; and people everywhere – locals and foreigners.

But best of all is the historic, stone architecture.  Every corner you turn, you find yourself in a new piazza surrounded by cathedrals, cafes, and cobblestone.  You find beauty in everything here.  But beware – as you gaze at your surroundings, know that bikers and drivers are relentless.  They will mow you down, so prepare to dodge high speed vehicles coming directly at you at any moment.

This city is filled with art and history; I feel Donatello and Leonardo da Vinci’s presence as I get lost in this magnificent labyrinth.  To walk the streets that so many others have paraded before is a feeling I hadn’t experienced until frolicking around the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.

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My Italian is in the development phase, but it’s not surprising that most people in the city speak relatively good English, making the first week’s transition easier.  Don’t let me fool you – I’ve been utilizing what I already learned from Duolingo (highly recommend this app to anyone that wants to learn a new language!) since the summer, and am trying hard to learn new phrases while I’m here.  The Italians seem to respect and appreciate my attempt, even if it’s reciting that I don’t speak Italian well (or at all for that matter): “Non parlo molto bene italiano.”

Apart from the rich history and beautiful surroundings, the people are just as wonderful.  Stay in touch to hear about my encounters with locals, the bonds I’m already developing with my amazing flatmates and fellow students, the incredible food (yes, everything you’ve heard is true), and the breathtaking views.dsc00388dsc00350dsc00226

Ciao for now!

Xxx,

Natalie

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